Today being August 21, we commemorate the death of Ninoy Aquino, a celebration made even more poignant and fresh by the recent passing of the beloved Cory Aquino. Spirit of EDSA reawakened? Yes, indeed, up to a point, and only up to a point. Following all the analyses and retrospectives, we lament how far we haven't come, as per the New York Times.
We can all introspect as to why this is so, but what comes foremost to my mind is how easily and quickly we trivialize heroism to its irrelevant and tangential details. And so in the end, all that remains is a diluted ideal quickly forgotten or corrupted.
Case in point: the days following Cory's funeral procession could have been spent in more reflective meditation on Philippine democracy. Instead, we got extensive coverage of the four honor guards and how gallantly they stood, without moving, for eight hours. Quite a feat, yes, and perhaps worthy of Guinness, but does it reflect the essence of the historic event that has transpired?
And plenty of other distractions followed: Willie Revillame's crass comments, Noynoy Aquino's political plans, Noynoy Aquino's girlfriend, declaration of Cory Aquino as saint, renaming EDSA as Cory Aquino Avenue, etc.
We all want to honor and remember Cory Aquino but what, I ask, do all these have to do with what she fought for?
Our present situation and attitudes finds echoes in past experiences, too. In the months following the EDSA Revolution, the burning question became: will the young Kris Aquino join showbiz? Will her mother let her? And thus, many years later, long after the EDSA heroes reverted into the fabric of mainstream traditional politics, long after abandoned Cory Aquino with our cynical sneers, we are left with the one enduring legacy of the post-EDSA period: Kris Aquino in showbiz.
Now we're on the verge of forgetting again, lost in quibbles of whether Cory Aquino should be declared a national hero. A great distinction? Indeed, but of what value, when you consider the proposal comes from people who know how to honor with honey words but are even better in spiting her principles with their deeds?